Friday, January 30, 2009


Like many runners, I’ve struggled with low iron for years. Surprisingly, since I stopped eating meat my ferratin levels have doubled and my hemoglobin levels have skyrocketed. That seems strange (and maybe even "iron"ic?), but I think because I ate meat so infrequently, it didn’t really help me much. (And even when I was only eating fish but having it 2-3 times a week, my levels were still only marginal.)

By dropping it completely, it forced me to pay more attention to taking in iron-rich foods every day and making sure I had something with Vitamin C at the same time to increase the absorption. I still take an iron supplement, but a lower dosage and less frequently. It’s amazing how much energy I now have to put into (and be used up by!) training. Since I don't want to eat meat at all, let alone a lot of it, I'm happy this seems to work for me.

It was also comforting to read in D. Enette Larson-Meyer’s book Vegetarian Sports Nutrition that it is almost impossible, even as a vegetarian, to not get enough protein if you are getting enough calories. She says that you would have to be very restrictive in your food choices to not get enough (for example not eating other protein-rich foods like legumes or soy products).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Week of Jan 19 - 25

A good week. The treadmill tempo was really tough so I just did strides on thursday instead of another workout. Felt good to go into Sunday's long run a little more rested. The reality of Rock and Ice is settling in as it gets closer. I only have five or six precious weeks left to put in hard training. The gym is annoyingly busy but I want to keep up the treadmill tempos as they really help me feel stronger.

M - 63 (snowshoe; strength after)
T - am 70 (treadmill tempo; 5'@8deg,5'@10,2'@0;5'@10,5'@8,1'@0,5'@12; early workout before work, really tough) pm 31 (microspikes)
W - am 54 pm 40 (snowshoe)
T - am 41 pm 80 (45' snowshoe, then road with 10 strides; felt great)
F - am 48 pm 56 (snowshoe)
S – 60 (cat trail hard snow)
S - 214 (backpack run; heavy; Tried to cross Varty Lk but it was melty in the middle)
Total 12:37

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Feeding the Fun

I'm hungry all the time.

My body is happy to run as much as I want it long as I keep feeding it. Constantly. Screw the five-calorie dill pickles and toss me that avocado*.

Just back from a pre-lunch errand run around downtown. Strewn bread crusts on the sidewalk looked appealing, and squirrels I half wondered how they'd deep-fry**. Restaurant smells were everywhere, and I stopped two blocks early at a corner store to enlarge my packed lunch. And grab a second coffee - I'm tired all the time too.

I LOVE it !

*I eat more than avocados; that was just an example using snack options that are green.
**It doesn't HURT them just to wonder. I've never harmed a squirrel, except that one I hit with my car in 2004 and still feel bad about. Which reminds me of the time I hit a bunny on the way to pick up our vegetarian pizza, the irony of which was not lost on me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Week of Jan 12 - 18

A good week, and happy to have my training partner returning to health for the latter half of it. Sure makes getting out there a lot more enjoyable.

M - am 40 pm 40 (snowshoe) + strength
T - am 40 pm 53 (20' tempo on snowshoes)
W - am 60 pm 30 (snowshoe)
T - am 60 (10x~70" hill reps) pm 45 (snowshoe Hare Tr, gorgeous)
F - am 25 pm 45 (snowshoe, Hare Tr again)
S - 62 (snowshoe Little Cat)
S - 180 (mostly snowshoe, Paudyn Loop, super deep snow. Fell hard over hidden branch in first loop and banged knee - not sure what was worse - the pain or being completely covered in snow. All in all, tough run and therefore great training for R&I)
Total 11:20

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Dozen Thoughts About...Hill Repeats

These were some things that went through my mind when I did my last hill repeat workout on
Dec 26. Hill reps are probably my favourite workout, then tempos, then intervals, then - by far last - long runs (though they are getting better).

1. The first one is slowest and feels the worst.
2. On the first few I can do simple math. By the last few, not so much.
3. I start human and end animal.
4. Good time to practice belly breathing; the legs can use all the oxygen they can get.
5. The longer up in work, the longer down to recover.
6. I'd rather find an okay hill with few cars than a great hill with traffic.
7. It is quite acceptable to blow your nose into the air at the top and the bottom. Doing it partway is crude and disgusting.
8. Counting down the number remaining is better than counting up the number I've done.
9. Do it hard enough to make it worth the effort.
10. Do it easy enough to not puke.
11. A hill workout always teaches me something. Sometimes about running, sometimes more
general, but always about myself.
12. The 10 min/mile cooldown miles are way harder than the 8:30s to get to the hill.

Monday, January 12, 2009


First week back at work was a bit rough, so I ended up using it for a recovery week. Mileage about half, two days off, no strength, no tempo, no hills, no long run. Back on track next week, hopefully with more energy.

M - am 50 pm 20
T - 40
W - 58 (snowshoe)
T - am 40 pm 20
F - off
S - 90
S - off
Total 5:18

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Trail

Well, my "non-running weekend streak" is over (see post below)...I just got back from a run. I'm glad I did, because I learned a few things and found a new trail.

I went to a snowmobile trail near our place where I probably should have worn snowshoes, but I decided instead to just use my shoes and microspikes. I wanted the opportunity to practice running on a tough surface for my Rock and Ice training. Even with the spikes I was totally spinning my wheels and not warming up very well. After 12 minutes, the toes on my left foot were starting to freeze, and it was only -10C, so I should have been okay by then. I wasn't having much fun.

In an effort to warm up, I started bounding with an exaggerated stride and two thing happened: First, within a minute my toes warmed up; and second, I started moving over the soft snow a lot more efficiently and enjoyably. A good thing to discover for R&I. I dropped the exaggeration a bit, but kept the more forefoot striking form, and it was a much better run. The slower I go, the more heel strike I usually have, and this was really working against me on the soft surface. I still need to work a lot on this stuff and be better prepared for anything.

The new trail was only a 10 minute loop, but it was so pretty as it weaved narrowly through snow-dappled pine trees.

Limit, One Streak Per Household

It's friday night, and I'm on the couch while my sick husband is out running. I'm taking the day off. It has been about 30 days since my last day off and over the last few I've started to drag. A couple of years ago I got to just over 100 days in a row. I didn't really mean to, it just sort of happened that I was getting near to 100 so I thought I'd go beyond it. When I hit about 103 or so, I said to myself that I needed to end this little streak (small s) before things got out of hand and it became a Streak (capital S).

Don't get me wrong, I am in awe of what it takes for Derrick to keep his alive as long as he has (19 years and counting), especially since I get to witness how daunting some of those days are. I know in racing that a DNF hurts so much worse than some temporary discomfort, so I try to relate to his choice on that level.

Maybe I'll start a non-running days streak over the weekend for some extra recovery. Not sure how I feel about that, we'll see what happens.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Week of Dec 29 - Jan 4

M - am 45 pm 38
T - 106 (12 lb pack; Paudyn Loop, felt quite good, beautiful day, sunny and -5C)
W - 68 Hare Trail
T - 20
F - am 45 pm 79 (30' trail tempo; icy sections; felt good)
S - 181 (light pack; nice trails; beautiful day; sluggish throughout and knackered by the end)
S - am 50 (plus strength circuit) pm 20
Total 10:43

While on holidays the last two weeks, it was good to add in more medium long runs. That is something I find tough to do during the week, but need more of.

2008 total running hours = 406 hours 23 minutes (66.6 minutes a day). It's harder than it looks on paper to get above an hour a day average when you factor in days off, tapers, recoveries, etc. and I was really happy to pull it off. Derrick did 1:42 a day....that's just amazing! Averaging it out like that really puts it in perspective. I bet I spend about the same average time driving. (And no one tells me I drive too much! ha ha.)

Tracks in the Snow

Yesterday I did a 3 hour run with a light pack and Microspikes. It was a beautiful sunny day and I found some trails with just a light powder of snow and no motorized tracks.

Here are some wild dog tracks heading into the trail. Much better than following ATV or snowmobile tracks.

Tracks I left behind...